There's more energy in that morning mochachino than just the caffeine. You know that bit of foam you get on the top of your espresso before you start adding all the steamed milk, sugar, and assorted flavorings to the point where you can't even taste the coffee anymore? That foam comes from the fact that coffee beans contain oil. Even after the beans are ground and brewed into assorted drinks, some of the oil still remains. As a biomass product with 15 percent oil in it, those leftover coffee grounds from the tens of thousands of coffee shops around the country could be a feedstock for biodiesel.
A team of chemical engineers from the University of Nevada is working on a process for extracting that oil and turning it into a different kind of liquid fuel. Narasimharao Kondamudi, Susanta Mohapatra, and Mano Misra believe that the anti-oxidants in coffee can also help overcome one of the drawbacks of other biodiesels, namely the tendency to break down. After extracting the oil from the used coffee grounds, the team used a conventional transesterification process that's commonly used with other plant oils to make diesel and got a 100 percent conversion rate. The team calculates that, worldwide, 340 million gallons of biodiesel could be produced annually from used coffee grounds.

[Source: ArsTechnica]


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